On September 12, 2018, Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada celebrated the launch of The Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award.
This award, named after Lynn Factor to highlight her contributions to Canada’s most vulnerable children and youth, is presented annually to an individual who is making a difference in the lives of children and youth in and from the child welfare system in Canada. The 2019 National Award finalists have been announced. The award winner will be given the opportunity to direct $50,000 grant and five finalists will each direct $5,000 grant to a child welfare, child rights, or child- or youth-serving agency in Canada.
Here’s a look at how our 2018 award winner and finalists’ grants are helping at-risk kids in and from care across the country:
Winner: Cindy Blackstock
Cindy, pictured centre with Don Guloien, Chair of the Stand Up for Kids National Award Committee (left) and Lynn Factor, past Chair of the Board and long-time Board member (right), dedicated her $50,000 award to We Matter – a national organization that is committed to Indigenous youth empowerment. We Matter has dedicated this prize toward its Ambassador of Hope initiative, creating a one-week Ambassador training session for 20-30 Indigenous youth across Canada. Key outcomes from this initiative are to build confidence, empower change-making, and create advocates for mental health in each Ambassador’s respective region. We Matter expects to impact over 2,500 vulnerable Canadian youth through the reach of their Ambassadors.
“As the only national Indigenous youth-led life promotion organization, We Matter works hard to deliver messages, develop resources, and create space based on hope, culture, and strength. This award will allow us to build our National Ambassadors of Hope program so that our messaging and resources can reach even more Indigenous youth who need it.” – Tunchai Redvers, Co-Founder, We Matter
Finalist: Ruby Barclay
Ruby directed her $5,000 to both the Vancouver Island University’s Peer Support Navigator for the Tuition Waiver Program for former youth in care and the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre to create a new program for vulnerable young people involved in the child welfare system called Paddling Beyond. Both are located in Nanaimo, British Columbia. The Peer Support Navigator ensures that the University’s most vulnerable students, particularly the more than 80 students who have spent time in BC’s foster care system who are accessing the Tuition Waiver Program, don’t fall through the cracks and acts as an advocate to help them get what they need to be successful in school. Paddle Beyond’s program activities include a trip to New Zealand for 16 youth to learn more about New Zealand’s native Indigenous culture to improve their sense of Indigenous identity and self-esteem, build support networks and a sense of community among marginalized youth.
Finalist: Karyn Kennedy
Karyn directed her $5,000 to Boost Child and Youth Advocacy Centre (Boost CYAC) in Toronto, Ontario to offer immediate and ongoing support to all families involved in child abuse and sex trafficking investigations (emotional support, crisis intervention, and referrals to appropriate social service organizations). They provide support to over 675 children and youth to reduce emotional, financial, and physical hardship on children and youth who are abused; increase access to services, with a “no wait list goal for services”; and increase capacity of partner agencies in conducting child abuse investigations.
Finalist: Tom Littlewood
Tom directed his $5,000 to Dan’s Legacy in New Westminster, British Columbia, enabling a life-skills and therapy program for youth with mental health and cognitive disabilities challenges, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, autism spectrum, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and attention deficit disorder. This program serves over 30 children, youth, and families, helping them to develop self-advocacy and life-skills, and achieve educational and employment goals. It also helps to prevent self-harm, discover and celebrate cultural connections, and keep families healthy and intact.
Finalist: Kenn Richard
Kenn directed his $5,000 to Native Child and Family Services in Toronto, Ontario to enhance the agency’s Indigenous summer camp program at Grundy Lake Provincial Park. This camp provides 250+ Indigenous youth interactive recreational programs, arts and crafts, cultural activities, and teachings to improve their sense of Indigenous identity and self-esteem, improve family relationships, and reduce substance abuse.
Finalist: Bruce Rivers
Bruce directed his $5,000 to Covenant House in Toronto, Ontario to support a housing program for victims of sex trafficking. This program houses 6 girls at a time, providing them with basic necessities such as medical care, court support, safety planning, counselling and coordinated specialized supports in the community. It aims to increase a sense of safety and improve the stability and physical/mental health of sex trafficking victims.
Nominations for the 2019 Lynn Factor Stand Up for Kids National Award are now open! Are you or is someone you know making a difference in the lives of children and youth in and from the child welfare system in Canada? We want to hear about the great work that is being done. The 2019 National Award recipient will be given the opportunity to direct $50,000 and five finalists will each direct $5,000 to a child welfare, child rights, or child-or youth-serving agency in Canada. Nominations close on Friday, March 29, 2019.